Since the construction of the first roads by the Romans, they have been an essential part of our lives and have forever transformed the way we move. Fast forward from the peak of the Roman Empire to modern-day America, roads have evolved into a vastly complicated network of highways and backroads which span across and connect the nation. While complex highway systems are common around the world, in some parts, lack of funding or the wrong environment does not allow safe roads to be built. Here are the ten most dangerous roads in such a part of the world, Asia.
10 Nanga Parbat Pass, Pakistan
The Nanga Parbat Pass in Pakistan is a high altitude road that has often been described as one of the most deadly roads in the world. The Pass trails off the Karakoram Highway, another road on this list and is listed as being 16.2 km long and 3300 meters above sea level. The most deadly and dangerous part of this road is a 6-mile patch that features no barriers to protect a vehicle from falling off the end and is only wide enough to fit a car the size of a Jeep Wrangler. The road is closed during the winter.
9 Zoji La, India
Next up is the Zoji La Pass in Northern India. Despite being a notoriously dangerous highway with uneven roads and sometimes no trails at all, the Zoji La is an important road as it links together Ladakh with Kashmir and also links the Western Himalayan Mountain Ranges with Srinagar. The Zoji La is a treacherous road with uneven surfaces and is even blocked off during the winter months due to excess snowfall. During the summer months, when the Zoji La is not obscured with obstacles, drivers are recommended to have a vehicle with all-wheel-drive capabilities and confidence in their driving skills.
8 Taroko Gorge Road, Taiwan
The Taroko Gorge Road is a unique road on this list as it is a series of tunnels made by carving into a mountainside. The drive on this road is certainly a scenic one as it passes through Taroko National Park and alongside the Toroko Gorge, but it remains a dangerous road. At some points of this road, it is only wide enough to fit one bus through and this mountain route features some parts where there are no barriers between the vehicle and the edge. This route is not for the weak of heart.
7 Guoliang Tunnel Road, China
Next on this list is the Guoliang Tunnel Road. Like the Taroko Gorge Road in Taiwan, the Guoliang Tunnel road is another mountain trail made by carving through the mountain and is, in fact, one of the most popular roads in the world. The tunnel system took five years to carve out, done by hand using chisels. During its construction workers went through 4000 hammers and 12 tons of steel. This road is a scenic route and visitors flock to it but drivers be wary. Driving this risky and high-altitude terrain requires incredible focus as one mistake could prove fatal.
6 Karakoram Highway, Pakistan/China
Next up is the Karakoram Highway that links Pakistan and China. The Karakoram Highway has an interesting history as it is the largest paved highway in the world and is a symbol of the diplomatic ties between the two nations it connects. Construction on the highway began in 1959 and finished 27-years later in 1986. Things to note when driving on this highway, it has sections that are deemed the hardest alpine climbs in the world. In some parts of the road, the lane is so narrow that one wheel hangs off the edge.
5 The Road from Jalalabad to Kabul, Afghanistan
Like the Karakoram Highway, presenting the Kabul-Jalalabad Highway that runs through the mountains of Afghanistan to link Jalalabad to Kabul. The highway is a small section of the A01 National highway and is one of the most dangerous parts of the national road. The Kabul-Jalalabad highway is a key road for humanitarian efforts to refugees but is also one of the most mountainous and treacherous tracks in the world. Driving this course requires patience, skill, confidence and copious amounts of focus. The sharp turns, narrow road, terrible weather, and bad road conditions all come together to make fatal accidents quite common.
4 Maeklong Railway Market, Thailand
The Maeklong Railway Market is known as the Folding Umbrella Market but sits within the Maeklong Railway Station. The market is situated on the side of a railway track and this path is not open to traffic, but due to the number of people who traverse this course on a day-to-day basis, in a manner of speaking it is a road. The reason the Folding Umbrella Market it one of the most dangerous roads in the world is because a train runs straight through the middle and vendors on either side need to fold up their markets or face their death.
3 Pamban Railway Bridge, India
The Pamban Railway Bridge was first constructed as a railway bridge connecting Rameswaram to Pamban Island of the India coast, but later on, a road for vehicles was added too. This bridge is India's first sea-bridge and is a dangerous path to traverse due to the abundance of cyclones and poor weather in the region. Not to mention the narrow roads on the bridge, the waves crashing into the side of the road and the railway tracks adjacent to the roads. While not a course that requires skill to drive through it, it isn't the safest road in the world.
2 Leh – Manali Highway, India
Another road in India, presenting the Leh-Manali Highway. Situated in Northern India, the Leh-Manali Highway is a mountain road that passes through the Himalayan Mountain range and spans 298 miles. Due to the mountainous terrain surrounding the highway, bad weather is common and situations such as heavy snowfall and avalanches have occurred. The road connects Ladakh to Manali and is only open for four months in the summertime when the weather permits it. Another reason this track is so dangerous is that there is no civilization near it so if you choose to traverse it, carry extra fuel and supplies.
1 Tianmen Mountain Road, China
Finally, we have the Tianmen Mountain Road that runs directly through the Tianmen Mountain National Park. What makes this road one of the most dangerous roads in the world and not just Asia, is the number of turns on it. The Tianmen Mountain road contains 99 turns to symbolize there are nine places in heaven and the scenery is astonishing. For this reason, crashes occur because the driver either takes their eyes off the road to admire the view or loses patience and takes a turn too quickly. If driving this course you must remember, stay focused and don't lose patience.